28 October 2011
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3448

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

First Committee

23rd Meeting (PM)


If Disarmament Conference Fails to Start Work by End of 2012 Session, General


Assembly to Consider Options for Fissile Material Ban, Says First Committee

 


Approving 10 Drafts, Committee Also Asks Assembly, if Necessary,

To Explore Means for Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations


Revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament, accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments, and granting negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States were among the aims of the 10 draft texts approved today as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) continued its action on the 53 draft texts before it.


Reiterating its grave concern about the current status of the disarmament machinery, including the lack of substantive progress in the Conference on Disarmament for more than a decade, the General Assembly would urge the Conference to adopt and implement a programme of work to enable it to resume substantive work on its agenda in early 2012, according to a draft resolution submitted by the Netherlands, South Africa and Switzerland.


Approved by consensus without a vote, that draft, entitled “Revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations”, would have the Assembly invite States to explore, consider and consolidate options, proposals and elements for revitalizing the United Nations disarmament machinery as a whole, including the Conference.  It would review progress at its next session in implementing this resolution and, if necessary, further explore options for taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations.


Convinced that a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons would be a significant contribution to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the Assembly would urge the Conference to agree on and implement a comprehensive programme of work that includes the immediate commencement of negotiations for such a treaty.


Should the Conference fail to agree on and implement a comprehensive programme of work by the end of its 2012 session, the Assembly, by that text,

would resolve to consider options for the negotiation of the treaty at its sixty-seventh session.  The draft, submitted by Canada, was approved by a recorded vote of 151 in favour to 2 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan), with 23 abstentions.


Prior to voting on the draft text as a whole, separate recorded votes were requested on operative paragraphs 2 and 3.  The Committee voted to retain the second operative paragraph, by which the Assembly would resolve to consider options for negotiating the treaty in the event the Conference failed to agree on a work programme by the end of its 2012 session.


The third operative paragraph was also retained.  By its terms, the Assembly would encourage States to continue efforts, including within and on the margins of the Conference on Disarmament, in support of the commencement of negotiations, including through meetings involving scientific experts on various technical aspects of the treaty.


Deeply disappointed at the absence of progress towards multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament issues, including in the Conference on Disarmament, the Assembly, according to a wide-ranging text on a nuclear-weapon-free world, would encourage further steps by nuclear-weapon States to ensure the irreversible removal of all fissile material designated as no longer required for military purposes.  The Assembly would welcome the expression by the 2010 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference of deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, as well as its reaffirmation of the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law. 


The draft resolution, submitted by the New Agenda Coalition — Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden — was approved by a recorded vote of 160 in favour to 6 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France, India, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions (China, Federated States of Micronesia, Pakistan, Russian Federation).


Prior to voting on the text as a whole, two separate recorded votes were taken.  The first vote retained operative paragraph 1, which would have the Assembly reiterate that each article of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was binding on the States parties at all times and in all circumstances and that all States parties should be held fully accountable with respect to strict compliance with their obligations under the Treaty. 


By operative paragraph 9, also approved, the Assembly, in addition to calling upon all States parties to spare no effort to achieve the universality of the Treaty, would urge India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without conditions.


According to a text on the conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, tabled by Pakistan, the Assembly would reaffirm the urgent need to reach an early agreement on effective international arrangements for such assurances.  The Committee approved that text by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to none against, with 56 abstentions.


By another text, on the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its Preparatory Committee, introduced by the Philippines, the Assembly would welcome the successful outcome of the 2010 Review Conference, and reaffirm the need to fully implement the follow-on actions adopted at the Conference.  That text was approved by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (India, Israel, Pakistan).


Prior to voting on that text, a separate recorded vote retained preambular paragraph 7, which would welcome the successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, held from 3 to 28 May 2010, and reaffirm the necessity of fully implementing the follow-on actions adopted at the Conference.


By a further text, the Assembly would stress the vital importance and urgency of signature and ratification, without delay and without conditions, in order to achieve the earliest entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  That resolution, tabled by Mexico, was approved by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Mauritius, Syria).


Prior to the vote on that draft, the Committee took a separate recorded vote on preambular paragraph 6.  By its terms, the Assembly would welcome the adoption by consensus of the conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which, inter alia, reaffirmed the vital importance of the entry into force of CTBT as a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime and included specific actions to be taken in support of the entry into force of the Treaty.


By another text, on the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, introduced by Albania, Norway and Cambodia, the Assembly would urge all States to remain seized of the issue at the highest political level and, where in a position to do so, to promote adherence to the Convention through bilateral, subregional, regional and multilateral contacts, outreach, seminars and other means.


The draft text was approved by the Committee by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to none against, with 17 abstentions.


By the provisions of a draft decision on the arms trade treaty (sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya, and the United Kingdom), the Assembly would decide to hold, within existing resources, the final session of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in New York.  The Committee approved the draft text by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to none against, with 13 abstentions.


The Committee also approved by consensus texts on the following topics:  Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, and Treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty).


Explaining their votes were the delegates of Qatar, Egypt, Norway, Syria, Ecuador, Mauritania, Belarus, Pakistan, India, United Republic of Tanzania, Iran, Brazil, China, Argentina, Cuba, Japan, Indonesia, Morocco, South Africa, Libya, Slovenia, Israel, China, United States, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Georgia, Singapore, United Kingdom and Uruguay.


General statements were made by the representatives of Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, Indonesia, on behalf of Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Pakistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Albania and Cuba.


Speaking on a point of order were the delegates of Iran, Uruguay and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Monday, 31 October, to conclude its 2011 session, taking action on the draft resolutions before it.


Background


The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue taking action on all disarmament and security-related draft resolutions and decisions before it.  (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3429).


Action on Draft on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security


The delegate of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab League, addressed his remarks to the draft resolution on transparency in armaments, L.29, approved yesterday.  The League stressed the importance of transparency in armaments because it was the appropriate tool for ensuring international peace and security.  But, it believed that ensuring transparency would have to include respect for a number of crucial principles that should be balanced, transparent and non-selective.  Those principles should be strengthened by countries on the national, regional and international levels, in accordance with international law.


He added that the United Nations Register of Conventional Weapons had been the first attempt to that end by the international community.  Although there was no doubt as to the potential value of the Register, it did give rise to several problems, by virtue of the fact that half of the membership of the United Nations did not provide data for it.


The Middle East was a special region, with no qualitative balance in terms of armaments, he continued.  Applying the principle of transparency in the Middle East to seven types of conventional weapons alone while ignoring highly advanced and lethal arms, such as weapons of mass destruction, proved that the issue was not addressed in a balanced, comprehensive or transparent manner.  The Register did not take into account the fact that Israel still occupied Arab territories and possessed lethal weapons of mass destruction, while not acceding to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  If Israel continued to ignore the international community’s appeals, while all United Nations Member States knew that it possessed such weapons, doubts would be raised would be raised about international transparency and inspection.


The Register should be expanded to include national stocks of weapons and weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, he stressed.  The fact that it did not, unfortunately, illustrated that the Register had failed and in its present form could not serve as an effective early warning system and could not build confidence.  Therefore, the League had abstained from that vote.


Egypt’s delegate said, on L.47/Rev.1, concerning compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments, also approved yesterday, said that, unfortunately and despite a few improvements in the text, the language in it extended its scope beyond existing agreements.  He did not acknowledge the right of one or more States to enforce compliance in another State.  Operative paragraph 7 referred to “concerted action”, however, the text was not clear as to what “concerted action” meant.  The draft text missed the aspect of achieving the universality of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation agreements.  Egypt, thus, abstained in the vote.


Norway’s delegate asked for a correction to his delegation’s vote operative paragraph 7 of L.29.  The vote should have been “yes”, he said.


Syria’s delegate said L.29 did not take into account the situation of the Middle East because of Israel’s occupation of Arab lands, disregarding Security Council resolutions.  Israel also possessed the most lethal weapons, including nuclear weapons.  Syria had abstained from voting on L.47/Rev.1, submitted by the United States, because it was not possible to vote on a draft text that called for adherence to NPT when Israel possessed nuclear weapons and did not adhere to that Treaty, particularly as that the draft text’s sponsor was in full knowledge of that fact.


Adhering to arms limitations and relevant commitments required that co-sponsors should adhere themselves to international agreements that regulated non-proliferation, particularly NPT, he said.  The draft text lacked any mention of the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Conference on Disarmament, causing the text to be imbalanced.


Regarding L.35, on objective information on military matters, he said his country had joined the consensus because the elements of the draft text represented Syria’s position.


Ecuador’s delegate addressed L.47/Rev.1, saying his country had signed all the relevant agreements.  He believed while the draft text introduced some amendments that met the consensus of various States, it did not appropriately emphasize the relevant measures that needed to be implemented.  That was why Ecuador had abstained from voting on the draft.


Mauritania’s delegate requested that his country be registered as voting “yes” to the vote on L.29’s operative paragraph 29.


Belarus’ delegate explained his country’s vote on L.47/Rev.1, saying he supported agreements on arms limitation and disarmament.  His country’s voluntary rejection of nuclear weapons and the voluntary destruction of military equipment was evidence of that, he said.  He abstained from voting on the text because he doubted some of its passages.


Pakistan’s delegate said his country subscribed to the core objectives of L.47/Rev.1, including that all States must honour the agreements to which they were party.  All States must also fully comply with the United Nations Charter.  However, enforcement should be anchored in reality, he said.  Some disarmament measures had suffered setbacks due to non-compliance and lack of enforcement mechanisms.  He wished there had been a more consultative approach to producing the draft text.  That was why Pakistan abstained from voting on the draft.


India’s delegate said he voted in favour of L.47/Rev.1 because he believed States’ commitments should be upheld.  States, in encouraging compliance of other States, should operate in a manner consistent with the United Nations Charter principles and international law.


The United Republic of Tanzania’s delegate had abstained in the vote on L.29 as a whole.  In principle, his country was not against the draft text, however, it had support the operative portion of the text concerning the inclusion of small arms and light weapons in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.  The loss of innocent lives on account of those weapons was not acceptable to his delegation.  In addition, those weapons were also used in acts of terrorism and destabilization, he said.


General Statements on Disarmament Machinery


ABIODUN RICHARDS ADEJOLA (Nigeria), on behalf of the African Group, introduced oral revisions to L.52, on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, and asked that the Committee approve the draft text without a vote.


JOHAN KELLERMAN (South Africa) introduced a draft resolution on Revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations, (A/C.1/66/L.39).  He also added oral revisions to the text.


BOUCHAIB ELOUMNI (Morocco) said the adoption of the consensus rule in the Conference on Disarmament was designed to rally the greatest possible support.  However, consensus did not mean it was a blocking factor.  It was up to each State to be flexible.  He called for caution in the temptation to launch negotiations outside the Conference on Disarmament as a way of speeding them up, keeping in mind that might also lead to unsavoury results not acceptable to most.  A special session on disarmament should work on finding solutions to those issues.


HELLMUT HOFFMANN, (Germany) said that, as a country that attached great importance to the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, Germany deeply regretted the stalemate that had prevented the Conference on Disarmament from doing its work and negotiating agreements on new instruments in the field.  The persistent lack of tangible results over many years in the Commission was yet another case for concern.  There was a lot of political will among the vast majority of States to start negotiations in the Conference.  In 2009, there was agreement in the Conference to start negotiations of a fissile material cut-off treaty, and deal with other important core issues in a substantive manner.  Unfortunately, that agreement could not be carried out due to the procedural manoeuvres of one delegation.  Germany was convinced that enough political will still existed to proceed.  The current methods of the Conference had been turned into a veto right and had brought the Conference into a situation wherein each and every member could nullify the political will to even start negotiating processes.  That was a recipe for enduring stalemate and permanent gridlock.


He further said that it should be borne in mind that the major treaties had not started or ended with everyone fully on board.  In all probability, the international community would still be waiting for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and NPT if the rules that were now the case in the Conference on Disarmament had been applied to those negotiations.  Germany supported the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Secretary General of the Conference to revitalize multilateral disarmament.  He hoped that the debates over the initiatives and resolution considered here would energize the Conference in its 2012 session to get under way at long last.  If that were not the case, Germany was confident that the discussions heard this year would make an important contribution for remedies to be discussed and decided on at next year’s session of the General Assembly.


Action on Drafts


The Committee then approved, without a vote, the draft resolution on Revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations, (A/C.1/66/L.39), sponsored by the Netherlands, South Africa and Switzerland.


By the draft text, the General Assembly, reiterating grave concern about the current status of the disarmament machinery, including the lack of substantive progress in the Conference on Disarmament for more than a decade, and noting with concern that, despite all efforts, the Conference has not been able to adopt and implement a Programme of Work during its 2011 Session, would urge the Conference to adopt and implement a Programme of Work to enable the resumption of substantive work on its agenda early in its 2012 Session.


The Assembly would invite States to explore, consider and consolidate options, proposals and elements for a revitalization of the United Nations disarmament machinery as a whole, including the Conference on Disarmament.  It would decide to include the item of revitalizing the Conference’s work on the agenda of the sixty-seventh session and to review progress made in implementing the present resolution and, if necessary, to further explore options for taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations.


The Committee also approved without a vote a draft resolution, United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (A/C.1/66/L.52) as orally revised, sponsored by Nigeria on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of African States.


Recalling the Secretary-General’s calls for continued financial and in-kind support from Member States, which would enable the Regional Centre to discharge its mandate in full and to respond more effectively to requests for assistance from African States, the draft text would have the General Assembly urge all States, as well as international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions to enable the Centre to carry out its programmes and activities and meet the needs of African States.  It would urge States members of the African Union to make voluntary contributions to the Regional Centre’s trust fund in conformity with the decision taken by the Executive Council of the African Union in Khartoum in January 2006.


Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote on L.39, the representative of Pakistan said his delegation was in full accord of the need to revitalize the Conference on Disarmament and had therefore voted in favour of that draft.  Revitalization efforts would however remain partial and seem partisan if the focus remained only on the Conference on Disarmament.  That was because the challenges afflicting the Conference were not due its work, nor restrained to it.  The common lament of a lack of political will was not unique to the Conference, but was equally seen in the Disarmament Commission and in the First Committee.  Some States said they supported disarmament, but nevertheless continued to vote against resolutions on that subject.


He said that the continuing differences and perceptions, approaches and modalities of promoting the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda suggested that the problems might not necessarily lay with the machinery.  Those mechanisms were only tools that States used to negotiate and deliberate disarmament issues.  They could not by themselves resolve issue among States.  The international community should aim beyond critique of the machinery alone and work towards reconciling the differences and priorities that could form the basis of a disarmament agenda, taking into account the principle of equal security of States.


For those reasons, Pakistan, he said, had been calling for a balanced disarmament agenda that took into account the security interests of all States, as well as a reinvigorated machinery to promote that agenda.


Also speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of Syria said his delegation aligned with the consensus on L.39.  He affirmed that the most appropriate means by which to consider revitalization of the disarmament mechanisms and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations was a fourth special session of the General Assembly on Disarmament.


Also speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of Iran said that, as for his delegation’s position on L.39, the major problem facing multilateral disarmament negotiations was a lack of genuine political will, and not the structure or working methods of the bodies, themselves.  The failure of the Conference stemmed from the unwillingness of some States to deal equally with all core issues.  The Conference should remain the sole multilateral negotiating body on disarmament, and its role in the field of disarmament should be strengthened.  The operative paragraph 5 of that draft, referring to the option for revitalizing the United Nations disarmament machinery, was nothing more than the convening of the General Assembly’s fourth special session devoted to disarmament.  He said the international community should avoid exclusive and discriminatory approaches and must take into consideration the security interests of all States.


The representative of Brazil said his delegation had not opposed L.39, but had nevertheless expressed apprehension about the wording of operative paragraph 8, as it created, if not encouraged, the possibility of direct action by the First Committee on the reform of the Conference.  The Conference had been established by a special session of the General Assembly, as part of the three-tiered machinery together with the First Committee and the Commission.  States addressed all the issues regarding disarmament, and not just the functioning of the Conference.  If States were to consider reforming the Conference, it must be taken into account that the Conference was the appropriate venue for consideration of all disarmament issues.


The representative of China said the Conference was the only multilateral negotiating forum, and it should quickly adopt its programme of work and engage, in a comprehensive and balanced way, to advance the multilateral disarmament negotiating process.  In that regard, China had joined consensus on L.39.  His delegation believed that any option to promote multilateral disarmament negotiations should include safeguarding the authority of the Conference and should ensure that all parties were participating.  Only that way could the objective of arms control and non-proliferation be achieved.


General Statements on Nuclear Weapons


ELISSA GOLBERG (Canada) introduced a draft resolution on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear devices (A/C.1/66/L.40/Rev.1).  The latest version aimed to reflect the important points raised by delegates in consultations.  A programme of work for the Conference on Disarmament must include negotiations on a fissile material ban, she said.  The draft called on the Conference on Disarmament to agree on a programme of work.  That was not an ultimatum.  Canada considered the Conference to be the preferred forum for such negotiations.  She hoped the draft text would reinforce the Conference, as the status quo, in Canada’s view, posed a great danger to it.  She hoped all States would join in supporting the draft text.


DELL HIGGIE (New Zealand), speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and New Zealand), said the draft resolution on accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (document A/C.1/66/L.31/Rev.1) reflected a small adjustment in operative paragraph 8, which noted the positive announcement regarding the host Government and facilitator of the 2012 conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.


FIKRY CASSIDY (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the draft resolution on the Treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty) (document A/C.1/66/L.38) aimed to contribute to global nuclear disarmament.  ASEAN hopes the zone would be regarded as a significant step towards achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  He hoped the draft text would be adopted without a vote.


SULJUK MUSTANSAR TARAR (Pakistan) introduced a draft resolution on the conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non‑nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/66/L.25).  Regrettably, negative security assurances to non-nuclear–weapon States had not happened.  Similar to other drafts adopted at previous sessions, except that the current one contained technical updates.


Considering that, until nuclear disarmament is achieved on a universal basis, it is imperative for the international community to develop effective measures and arrangements to ensure the security of non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of force, including the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, the draft textwould have the Assembly reaffirm the urgent need to reach an early agreement on effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States in that regard.


The Assembly would appeal to all States, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to work actively towards an early agreement on a common approach and, in particular, on a common formula that could be included in an international instrument of a legally binding character.


In that connection, it would recommend that further intensive efforts be devoted to the search for such a common approach or common formula and that the various alternative approaches, including, in particular, those considered in the Conference on Disarmament, be further explored in order to overcome the difficulties.


RI TONG IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), said that in L.31/Rev.1, on a nuclear-weapon-free world, operative paragraph 10 referred to his country.  He drew attention to the contradictory messages, which asked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fulfil commitments, and then later in the paragraph, stated that the aim was the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was not working alone, he said.  There were six parties in the talks.


Concerning L.37, on CTBT, he said his country rejected the two Security Council resolutions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that were mentioned in the draft text.  His country had been living under nuclear threats for six decades, and it had a right to self-defence.  He thus requested a recorded vote on the draft text.


Action on Drafts


The delegate of Pakistan recognized efforts by Canada to conduct consultations on L.40/Rev.1, including the withdrawal of a mention of a Group of Governmental Experts on the subject of the draft text.


However, he said, the draft text was flawed as it pursued negotiations outside the Conference on Disarmament.  Pakistan would vote against it because the treaty under discussion would ban only future production of fissile material, and would not address existing stockpiles, he said.


Argentina’s delegate supported Canada’s efforts on L.40/Rev.1.  A work programme adopted by the Conference on Disarmament would lead to substantive discussions, she said.  Negotiations should indeed begin on all items on the Conference on Disarmament’s agenda.  Argentina was positive about L.40.  She was favourable regarding the start of negotiations on fissile material.


The Committee then took up a draft resolution on the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its Preparatory Committee (document A/C.1/66/L.15), which would have the General Assembly note the decision on strengthening the review process for NPT, in which it was agreed that review conferences should continue to be held every five years.  In that connection, it would take note of the decision of the parties to the Treaty to hold the first session of the Preparatory Committee in Vienna from 30 April to 11 May 2012.


Further to the text, the Assembly would welcome the successful outcome of the 2010 Review Conference, and reaffirm the need to fully implement the follow-on actions adopted at the Conference.


Prior to voting on the draft as a whole, the Committee held a separate recorded vote on its preambular paragraph 7.


Preambular paragraph 7 would have the Assembly welcome the successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, held from 3 to 28 May, and reaffirm the need to fully implement the follow-on actions adopted at the Conference.


The Committee approved the inclusion of preambular paragraph 7 by a recorded vote of 169 in favour, none against, with 3 abstentions ( India, Israel, Pakistan).


The Committee approved the draft text as a whole by a vote of 169 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions ( India, Israel, Pakistan).


The Committee approved the draft resolution, tabled by Pakistan, on the conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non‑nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (L.25), by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to none against, with 56 abstentions.


The Committee then took up a draft resolution on accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (document A/C.1/66/L.31/Rev.1).


Deeply disappointed at the absence of progress towards multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament issues, and underlining the importance of multilateralism in relations to nuclear disarmament, the draft text would have the Assembly call upon all States parties to NPT to work towards the full implementation of the resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, including the convening of a conference in 2012 to be attended by all States of the region on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.


The Assembly would also, by the draft text, call upon nuclear-weapon States to implement their commitments made at the 2010 NPT Review Conference and call upon all States parties to spare no effort to achieve the universality of NPT, as well as urge India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty without delay.


A separate recorded vote on operative paragraph 1 was requested.  By its terms, the Assembly would reiterate that each article of NPT is binding on the States parties at all times and in all circumstances and that all States parties should be held fully accountable with respect to strict compliance with their obligations under the Treaty, and it would call upon all States to comply fully with all decisions, resolutions and other commitments made at Review Conferences.


The Committee approved the inclusion of that paragraph by a vote of 163 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 8 abstentions ( China, France, Georgia, India, Israel, Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States).


Operative paragraph 9 would have the Assembly continue to emphasize the fundamental role of NPT in achieving nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and call upon all States parties to spare no effort to achieve the universality of the Treaty, and in this regard, urge India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without conditions.


The Committee retained that paragraph by a vote of 160 in favour to 5 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, Pakistan, United States), with 3 abstentions (Bhutan, France, United Kingdom).


The Committee then approved the draft text as a whole by a vote of 160 in favour to 6 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France, India, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions (China, Federated States of Micronesia, Pakistan, Russian Federation).


Bhutan’s delegate requested that her vote on L.31/Rev.1 as a whole be recorded as “yes”.


The Committee than took up a draft resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (document A/C.1/66/L.37), tabled by Mexico, which would have the Assembly stress the vital importance and urgency of signature and ratification, without delay and without conditions, in order to achieve the earliest entry into force of that Treaty.


Prior to the vote on that draft, the Committee took a separate recorded vote on preambular paragraph 6.  By its terms, the Assembly would welcome the adoption by consensus of the conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which, inter alia, reaffirmed the vital importance of the entry into force of CTBT as a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime and included specific actions to be taken in support of the entry into force of the Treaty.


The Committee approved the inclusion of that paragraph by a recorded vote of 168 in favour, to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Israel, Pakistan).


The Committee then approved the draft text as a whole by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Mauritius, Syria).


Sudan’s delegate said he would have voted “yes” on the previous action on L.37.


The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Bangkok Treaty) (document A/C.1/66/L.38), introduced by Indonesia.  It would have the Assembly welcome the resumption of direct consultations with the five nuclear-weapon States, and encourage States parties to the Treaty to continue direct consultations with the five nuclear-weapon States to resolve comprehensively, in accordance with the objectives and principles of the Treaty, existing outstanding issues on a number of provisions of the Treaty and the Protocol thereto.


The Committee then took up a draft resolution on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear devices (A/C.1/66/L.40/Rev.1), tabled by Canada.


Expressing frustration with the years of stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament, which has prevented it from fulfilling its mandate as the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, the General Assembly would, by the draft text, urge the Conference on Disarmament to agree on and implement early in 2012 a comprehensive programme of work that includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.


The Assembly would resolve to consider options for the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices on the basis of document CD/1299 of 24 March 1995 and the mandate contained therein.


It would encourage interested Member States, without prejudice to their national positions during future negotiations on such a treaty, to continue efforts, including within and on the margins of the Conference on Disarmament, in support of the commencement of negotiations. 


Prior to voting on the draft text as a whole, separate recorded votes were requested on operative paragraphs 2 and 3.


By operative paragraph 2, the Assembly would resolve to consider options for the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices at its sixty-seventh session, should the Conference on Disarmament fail to agree on and implement a comprehensive programme of work by the end of its 2012 session.


The Committee approved the inclusion of operative paragraph 2 by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Pakistan), with 16 abstentions.


Operative paragraph 3 would have the Assembly encourage interested Member States, without prejudice to their national positions during future negotiations on such treaty, to continue efforts, including within and on the margins of the Conference on Disarmament, in support of the commencement of negotiations, including through meetings involving scientific experts on various technical aspects of the treaty, drawing on available expertise from IAEA and other relevant bodies, as appropriate.


The Committee approved the inclusion of operative paragraph 3, as orally amended, by a vote of 148 in favour to 2 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan), with 19 abstentions.


The Committee then approved the draft text as a whole by a vote of 151 in favour to 2 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan), with 23 abstentions.


Cuba’s delegate said her country had always been in favour of the draft resolution on CTBT, but it had not supported it today.  Operative paragraph 5 of the text was moving away from the technical aspects.  Diplomacy and dialogue should continue to be used regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula.  She hoped the text would not continue to include contested issues that would move the Committee away from consensus on the issue.


Iran’s delegate said the country had supported of L.37, however, it wanted to disassociate itself from operative paragraph 5, due to the language of the text.  The delegation had abstained from voting on L.40/Rev.1 as a whole, and voted against the second operative paragraph, which implied that some countries intended to misuse the General Assembly to prioritize items on the Conference on Disarmament’s agenda.  He believed nuclear disarmament was the highest priority on the disarmament agenda.  Starting negotiations in the Conference on the phased elimination of nuclear weapons to legally prohibit those weapons by any country should be the highest priority for the Conference’s agenda.  A treaty to ban fissile material should not be developed as a non-proliferation tool.  Such a treaty must cover past and future development of that material, he said.


Japan’s delegate voted in favour of L.25 because the country believed in deepening discussions on negative security assurances.  However, those discussions should not replace negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament.


On L.40/Rev.1, Indonesia supported all four issues before the Conference on Disarmament.  Putting a 2012 deadline on taking negotiations outside the Conference on Disarmament would put too much pressure on the Conference.  The lack of political will in the Conference not only concerned fissile material, but all issues before that body.  Thus, Indonesia had abstained in voting on the draft.


Morocco’s delegate supported the early negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty within the Conference, and called on all States to show support to allow that body to work on all core issues.


South Africa’s representative said that, based on his country’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation objectives, he supported operative paragraph 2 of L.40/Rev.1.  That provision could take forward negotiations.  The draft text dealt with only one of the Conference on Disarmament’s agenda items, but South Africa recognized the other issues that were before it.  He hoped the Conference would commence substantive work in 2012 on all issues.


Libya’s delegate said his country abstained from voting on L.40/Rev.1 because there had already been a high-level meeting on reactivating the Conference on Disarmament.  There was a contradiction between what was contained in operative paragraph 1, asking the Conference on Disarmament to submit a programme of work on a treaty banning fissile material, whereas operative paragraph 2 considered various options.


Slovenia’s delegate supported the fissile material cut-off treaty, which would bring the world closer to being nuclear weapon-free.  He was grateful to Canada for proposing L.40/Rev.1.  Negotiations on such a treaty should have started years ago.  He supported an earlier version of the draft, which would have requested the Secretary-General, in the absence of agreement on a work programme in the Conference on Disarmament by the end of March 2012, to establish a group of governmental experts to identify options for a treaty banning fissile material, on the basis of document CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein.  The earlier draft also would have asked the Secretary-General to transmit the group’s report to the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh session.


He said he regretted that that passage was lost, as it would have provided an impetus to start negotiations.  He hoped the Committee would return to that matter.  Nevertheless, Slovenia supported the draft text.


Speaking in explanation of vote on L.15, the representative of Pakistan said his country was a non-party and was not bound by NPT, and, therefore, had abstained in the vote.


As for L.31, he said that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing.  However, his delegation was disappointed by the selective and discriminatory language that called for Pakistan to accede to NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State.  It could not accept or support any recommendation or decision emanating from the NPT Conferences.


Regarding the vote on L.37, over the years, Pakistan had consistently supported the objectives of CTBT by voting in favour of the resolution in the Committee, as it had done again this year.  The objective of the calls, in the resolution, leading to the Treaty’s entry into force, would be facilitated when the necessary parties decided to ratify it.  He said he did not consider Pakistan bound by any provisions springing from NPT, and had been constrained to abstain from preambular paragraph 6 in L.37.


The representative of Syria said his delegation had abstained from the vote on resolution L.37, as Syria, as usual, had stated that a treaty of that importance (CTBT), with everything it implied, could not ignore the legitimate concerns of non-nuclear-weapon States, which were the overwhelming majority, as those States had not yet received any guarantees deemed sufficient against the security of nuclear weapons use or the threat of use against them.  He stressed that the Treaty text did not entail a commitment on the part of nuclear-armed States to get rid of their arsenals, and the text did not explicitly stress the illegitimacy of the use of nuclear weapons or the threat of their use, just as it did not stipulate the steps to be taken in order truly reach non-proliferation.


He said that the text was confined to prohibiting nuclear explosions without addressing new types of weapons and their related issues.  Inspection measures that had been instituted could actually lead to abuse in the areas of monitoring, which could be used for political purposes.  What was strange was that the text authorized countries that had signed to take measures against non-signing States.  That was tantamount to a violation of States’ sovereignty.  Those gaps could lead to major concerns, as Israel was the only party having nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in its region and refused to adhere to NPT.  For those reasons, it was difficult to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and exposed the region and the world to the dangers of Israeli nuclear weaponry.  He also expressed reservations with regard to all paragraphs contained in resolutions that had been adopted so far or would be adopted that contained or emphasized CTBT.


The representative of Israel said her delegation was explaining its vote for two resolutions.  Israel had voted in favour of L.37, due to the importance attached to the objectives of CTBT.  However, Israel could not support some of the wording in preambular paragraph 6 and operative paragraph 1.  It was Israel’s longstanding position that CTBT and NPT were not linked, and artificially forcing such a linkage would jeopardize CTBT, the global non-proliferation regime, and the prospect for better regional security in the Middle East.


She said that Israel’s signature of CTBT reflected the policy to bring Israel closer to international norms on nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation.  Substantive and intensive involvement by Israel demonstrated dedicated attention to CTBT.  She appreciated the significant progress made in the development of the CTBT verification regime.  However, completion of that regime relied on additional efforts, including the continued build up and testing of the international monitoring system and the completion of the on-site inspection manual.


She said the regional security situation in the Middle East, including compliance with the Test-Ban Treaty in the region, was a major consideration for ratification.  The verification regime should be robust, be immune to abuse, and, at the same time, allow signatories to protect national security interests.  Completion of the verification regime was a major consideration for ratification to make sure there was adequate coverage of the Middle East by the international monitoring system.  Sovereign equality, a cornerstone of multilateralism, must be ensured.  Israel had voted in favour of the resolution, reflecting the importance it attached to the objectives of CTBT.  She hoped those objectives would be realized faithfully and in a forthcoming manner.  As for L.40, the inherent utility of a fissile material cut-off treaty was far from proven.  That held especially true for the Middle East where some States had an exceptionally poor track record.  Such a treaty was subsumed in a concept of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, which was an essential prerequisite that was far from being fulfilled.


Egypt’s delegate firmly believed that the Conference on Disarmament was the sole multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament.  The delegation, therefore, did not believe in a duplication of its work.  He had suggested operative language to L.40/Rev.1 referring to stockpiles of fissile materials, using the Shannon mandate as a guide.  However, given the absence of specific references to negotiations taking place only in the Conference on Disarmament, he had abstained from voting on L.40/Rev.1 and the votes on its paragraphs.


Liechtenstein’s delegate said he preferred an earlier version of L.40/Rev.1, which referred to an expert group.  He understood the concerns of Canada to aim for consensus by changing the draft’s language.


India’s delegate remained committed to the goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.  India also shared the view that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing.  He voted against L.31 and its operative paragraph 9, as India would not accede to NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State.  A State’s acceptance or ratification of a treaty was based on free consent.  There was no question of India joining NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State.


India had enjoyed friendly and productive relations on the south-east Asian region and supported the regional nuclear-weapon-free zone, as mentioned in L.38, the delegate said.


China’s delegate said his country had advocated the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons and the reduction of the threat of use of those weapons with a goal of a world without them, and China thus supported L.49.


However, China could not support operative paragraph 9 of L.41 because it was not conducive to the promotion of an early start to negotiations on a fissile material treaty.  China supported the early commencement of such negotiations.


China also supported the principles of L.31/Rev.1 and had voted in favour of the resolution in the past.  However, regretfully, some of the elements in this year’s draft text were inconsistent with the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.  That final document should not be changed, he said, and thus China had abstained from that vote.


China supported fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament, and thus voted in favour of L.40/Rev.1.  The Conference on Disarmament was the sole multilateral negotiating forum, and the only appropriate forum to adopt a fissile material treaty, he said.  Operative paragraphs 2 and 3 were inconsistent with the abovementioned thrust, and therefore, China had abstained from the vote on those provisions.  The Conference on Disarmament should be strengthened, he added.


The United States delegate, addressing her remarks to L.31/rev.1 on behalf of France and the United Kingdom, said she had been unable to support the text because it did not accurately reflect the 2010 Review Conference action plan.  She regretted the text did not reflect an adequate balance of the NPT’s three pillars or Iran’s failure to comply with its obligations.  While they voted against the draft, they anticipated working on those issues in the future.


Brazil said L.40/Rev.1 had introduced changes that allowed the Committee to favour the text.  His support for the draft, however, should not be interpreted as support for alternatives to the Conference on Disarmament.  The fact that competing draft texts on the Conference’s paralysis showed that the best way ahead would be a special session on disarmament, he said.


Concerning L.40/Rev.1, the delegate of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea hadvoted “no”.  His country, during draft text consultations with Canada, had strongly expressed its concern.  With the approval of the draft text, those concerns were growing.  The draft gave the impression that a fissile material cut-off treaty was the core issue.  However, nuclear disarmament had been on the General Assembly agenda since 1945, yet the text set aside that utmost priority.


Moreover, he said, the text demonstrated the risky attempts of Canada to take the fissile material negotiations out of the Conference on Disarmament.  The Conference was the sole multilateral forum for those negotiations.  If a handful of countries took the issue out of the Conference, it would be a disaster.  Canada was the only country that boycotted the Conference.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had worked by rules of procedure in its tenure at the Conference.


Georgia’s delegate clarified that her delegation had intended to vote in favour of operative paragraphs 1 and 9 of L. 31/Rev.1.


General Statements on Conventional Weapons Cluster


JO ADAMSON (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the co-sponsors of the draft decision on the arms trade treaty (document A/C.1/66/L.50), said the United Kingdom had established a Group of Governmental Experts, and subsequently transformed it to an open-ended working group, required to have an open, transparent and non-discriminatory forum.  She said resolution 64/48 (2010) had been adopted by an overwhelming vote.  It was the hope of the co-sponsors of the decision that it would be adopted without a vote.


PETRIKA JORGJI (Albania) said that delegation had tabled the draft resolution on the Mine-Ban Treaty (document A/C.1/66/L.4), together with Norway and Cambodia, and encouraged States to vote in favour of it to express their support for the humanitarian principles of the Convention, mentioned in the text.


MARIA CARIDAD BALAGUER (Cuba) said that, as during other sessions, Cuba would abstain on L.4.  While Cuba fully shared the legitimate humanitarian concerns associated with the irresponsible use of anti-personnel mines, it had for decades been the subject of a policy of continued aggression by a military super-Power, and could not therefore give up the use of mines in keeping with the right of self-defence, as recognized in the United Nations Charter.


Action on Drafts


The Committee took up a draft resolution, on the Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (document A/C.1/66/L.4), sponsored by Albania, Norway and Cambodia, which would have the General Assembly urge all States that have signed but not ratified the Convention to do so without delay.


Noting with regret that anti-personnel mines continue to be used in some conflicts around the world, causing human suffering and impeding post-conflict development, the draft text would have the Assembly stress the importance of the full and effective implementation of, and compliance with, the Convention, including through the continued implementation of the Cartagena Action Plan 2010-2014.


In a related provision, the Assembly would invite all States that have not ratified or acceded to the Convention to provide, on a voluntary basis, information to make global mine action efforts more effective.  It would renew its call upon all States and other relevant parties to work together to promote, support and advance the care, rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration of mine victims, mine risk education programmes and the removal and destruction of anti-personnel mines placed or stockpiled throughout the world.


Also by the draft, the Assembly would urgeall States to remain seized of the issue at the highest political level and, where in a position to do so, to promote adherence to the Convention through bilateral, subregional, regional and multilateral contacts, outreach, seminars and other means.


The draft text was approved by the Committee by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to none against, with 17 abstentions.


The Committee then took up a draft decision on the arms trade treaty (A/C.1/66/L.50), sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya, and the United Kingdom.


Recalling its resolution 64/48 entitled, “The arms trade treaty” adopted on 2 December 2009, the draft decision would have the General Assembly decide to hold, within existing resources, the final session of the Preparatory Committee for the United National Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty from 13-17 February 2012 in New York, to conclude the Preparatory Committee’s substantive work and to decide on all relevant procedural matters pursuant to operational paragraph 8 of resolution 64/48 (2009).


The Committee approved the draft text by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to none against, with 13 abstentions.


Morocco’s delegate said the country believed in protection of civilians, and the damage caused by anti-personnel mines was horrid.  Morocco supported the Mine-Ban Convention and was committed to eliminate mines.  Remarkable mine clearance efforts had destroyed thousands of mines and unexploded ordnance, and Morocco had been involved with regional countries and non-governmental organizations to implement the Convention.


The representative of the United Kingdom said she regretted that a vote had had to take place on L.50, but warmly thanked all delegates that had voted in favour the decision.


The representative of Uruguay asked who it was that had requested a vote on L.50.  She also said that her delegation had voted in favour of L.50, convinced that the work of the Preparatory Committees had produced important progress on that goal.  The new Preparatory Committee was essential for the continuation of that work.  She regretted that the decision was not adopted by consensus.


The Chair said that the recorded vote had been requested by Iran.


Speaking on a point of order, the representative of Iran said that giving the floor to the sponsor of the resolution was not in the Committee’s practice, as had been done with the United Kingdom just now.  It was also not acceptable to say which countries had requested recorded votes and he, henceforth, asked that all those delegations that had requested a recorded vote now be named in the Committee.


The Secretary of the Committee said it had been a long-held tradition of the Committee not to request from the floor who had requested the recorded vote.  It had never been done.  However, the practice was that when it was done from the floor, it had to be divulged.  It was not a secret.  There was no rule.  It was a tradition not to request who had asked for the recorded vote, however, if such a request was made the Committee needed to answer.


The representative of Iran said that he had been working in the First Committee for more than 20 years, and this was the first time he had heard a request from the floor regarding who had requested a recorded vote.  He asked that the Chair name all the countries who had requested votes for all the resolutions.


Also speaking on a point of order, the representative of Uruguay said she saw that, in all good faith, she had caused some problems, and she apologized to the Chair and, bearing in mind that all countries had the right to request a vote on any resolution, as well as the right to know, she did it in all good faith and apologized to the representative of Iran and promised she would continue with the established practice of the First Committee.  She hoped he would accept her apologies.


The representative of Iran said that even at this late hour, he appreciated the comment made by the representative of Uruguay, however he asked on the record that the practice should not be broken again, but should be kept.  Otherwise, the First Committee would turn into a “naming and shaming” game.  He withdrew the request for naming the countries, but asked delegates to keep the practice, as that was the issue that kept the unity of the First Committee.


The Chair said that on the issue, the practice had to be kept by the delegations, and the Chair had no choice if the request was made from the floor.  That information could not be withheld.


Speaking on a point of order, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation needed to correct its vote for L.4, as he had intended to press “abstention” for L.4.


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For information media • not an official record